Calls for coroners inquest into woman's fatal fall from party bus
Published Monday, January 11, 2016 7:31PM PST
A Vancouver city councillor is calling for a public coroners’ inquest into the death of a young assistant teacher who fell from a party bus over the weekend.
As questions swirl about how it's possible for an emergency exit door to open while the vehicle is moving, Geoff Meggs argues it’s time for a proper look into the party bus industry.
“We’ve lost another life in what should be a very safe setting,” Meggs told CTV News. “Was there enough supervision? Is what’s going on in this industry properly thought through?”
Meggs was reacting two days after something went horribly wrong aboard a Silver Lady Limousine party bus in downtown Vancouver Saturday night.
The door of the bus was open as it turned from West Hastings to Burrard Street. A 23-year-old woman fell through, was struck by the bus, and died.
Dashcam video taken by a passerby shows the bus travelled more than a block before stopping. Police say the passengers alerted the driver, and that the company is co-operating in the investigation.
“The mechanical status of that vehicle is one of the focuses, as is the actions of everyone involved on the bus,” said Sgt. Randy Fincham.
It has to be easy to open the doors of a party bus in an emergency. Most are equipped with window emergency exits, and the main entry door can be opened with lever on the wall or a foot pedal near the floor.
CTV News inspected a similar bus to the one involved, a Ford F-Series, and found it had a foot pedal near the floor.
“The way that system is designed, it might be too accessible. Could be triggered by someone leaning on it. But as far as them opening on their own, that’s not going to happen,” said fellow party bus operator Tommy Cuscito.
Cuscito said the entire industry shouldn’t be given a black eye because of a death, as operators regularly check their vehicles and thousands of rides happen a year without incident.
“I think the industry is safe. The rules that are put in place are pretty stringent,” Cuscito said.
But Meggs said there are systems put in place in other jurisdictions that need to be examined here, such as having a chaperone with the partiers.
“It’s been proposed and done in several U.S. states. It makes sense. It’s a dampener on a party, but they discovered that’s the way it had to be done,” he said.